An ex-deputy has admitted to engaging in a sex act when he responded to a domestic dispute.
Dereck Johnson, 36, of Elloree pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misconduct in office, a felony charge.
Circuit Judge Ed Dickson sentenced Johnson to five years in prison, suspended to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service work.
The incident occurred on June 12, 2016, after Johnson and his training officer responded to a domestic incident at a Cordova home. Johnson had been working at the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office for only two months at the time.
When the two deputies arrived, the training officer spoke with the boyfriend outside and Johnson spoke with the girlfriend inside the residence. A child was also in the home, asleep.
The woman alleged Johnson told her to perform a sex act or she would go to jail.
The woman’s attorney, Rep. Justin Bamberg, told the court on Wednesday that his client complied with Johnson’s demands to avoid arrest.
Johnson’s attorney, Carl B. Grant, however, said his client’s version of the story is that “he was someone who was seduced to do this activity.”
Grant said, “This young man was in training at the time. He was really a rookie, very green behind the ears. One thing we do know is this particular fact pattern is not in the training manual as to what you should do if this particular scenario came across your plate.”
Just before sentencing Johnson, Dickson said, “Even though it wasn’t in the training manual, nor should it be, you should know what to do and what is absolutely inappropriate.”
Dickson said he appreciated Johnson “stepping forward and taking responsibility.”
After the hearing ended, Grant said, “I think the judge’s sentence was fair and reasonable under the facts and circumstances he had before him.”
Bamberg said, “Throughout this whole thing, there are valuable lessons to be learned. We are fine with the judge’s sentence. He heard the facts as they exist.”
“Mr. Johnson acknowledged he shouldn’t have done what happened and hopefully, at this point, everyone can begin to move forward with their lives,” he said.
Johnson, who’s the father of four children and a husband of five years, is currently working as a commercial truck driver.
Grant told the court that Johnson doesn’t have any desire to have another job in law enforcement.
In Dickson’s sentencing, he ordered Johnson not to have a job in law enforcement and not to have any contact with the woman.